Alyssa Boyd: What Makes A Good Death?

Most of these daily posts contain my own musings. However, my intention with this blog is always to point to whatever is most beautiful and good in the culture and today that means pointing you to a wonderful short reflection by Dr. Alyssa Boyd. She is one of the co-founders of The Living Wish Foundation about which I wrote here.

Dr. Boyd is the medical director at a hospice and she recently wrote about what makes a good death:

I find myself constantly ruminating over this question and am regularly fascinated and surprised by the variations in responses that I see.

It is easy for me to say what a “good death” looks like from the comfort of the nurse’s station. The patient is peaceful and comfortable with family and loved ones by their side. Their final wishes have been honoured. They die quick enough that their loved ones don’t have to sit vigil for more than 48 hours but slowly enough that everyone has had a chance to say their goodbyes. Perhaps the only way my ideal scenario has evolved over time is the additional clause that “there are no COVID restrictions.”

But, that is my own bias. When you are sitting on the other side of the bed, all the above may seem like irrelevant platitudes, only visible as an outsider, as the family grieves through the worst days of their life. If I have learned anything in my musings around “a good death,” it is that I must constantly be open-minded to each family’s unique expectation and not point out anyone else’s silver linings.

Despite my attempts to shelve my own beliefs around this, I will confidently profess that yesterday I was given the gift of bearing witness to a TRULY good death.

Continue reading in Georgian Life Magazine, here.

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